The Girl with the Iron Claws is a wonderful retelling of the Nordic myth of the White Bear King. Sharing its roots with Beauty and The Beast it tells the love story of a cursed King and Girl, from the perspective of the Blacksmith who made the famed Iron Claws.The production has a wonderful, childlike enthusiasm which drives it. As an audience member you see through a child’s eye, and feel you are taken by the hand through the child’s imagination as they configure and direct their bedtime story. Arran Glass is instrumental in the success of this device as Blacksmith and the narrator of the piece. He gives a touching performance; let him guide you with his beautiful and caring voice on an epic journey through the forest.Rachael Canning’s design and direction of the puppets in this production is simply breathtaking. The bear Valemon has such humanity and gentleness in his features that you will fall in love with him. He is also animated in such a way by Chris Macdonald as to make him majestic and powerful but not intimidating to a child. My only criticism is that having such definition to the bear made me question the position of puppets portraying children within the world created on stage. There was a stark contrast in aesthetic and mechanics of the two sets of puppets, as the children were less defined and simpler. I would love to see this company explore further what they can achieve with their talent. The set-design and use of space is extremely imaginative. Simple alterations, such as extending a curtain of the Blacksmith’s workshop, provide a new performance space for shadow puppetry; a pleasant surprise and welcome addition to the story. These scenes were perfectly executed, as actors hand-controlled the lamp behind, altering the focus to manipulate the silhouettes of actor and puppet. Accompanied by narration, these moments acquired a hauntingly dream-like quality to them, enabling the company to tackle what can be difficult subject matter.One of the best things about this production is its warmth. Too many shows suitable for children have the tendency to condescend. There is a passion in the company that transcends into their performance, and makes the puppets come alive.